Blog & Insight

Trying to control life is like trying to control the weather

In a coaching session from the archives where control was seen as the block to making progress we explored the metaphor of trying to control the weather.

Not wondering initially how it related to the objective of releasing 'control' in their life, but just observing what they could learn about controlling the weather.

Please note: as neither of us are meteorologists some of the following assumptions may be factually incorrect. Factual data may add something to our analysis, however, as it was their metaphor and their exploration, it was more about noticing what they noticed about controlling the weather.

Here's what we discovered:

  • Weather is very changeable - here in Scotland anyway - it's certainly never static!
  • What's interesting about the change in weather is it is determined by a combination of factors - air pressure, wind direction and speed, moisture in the air, height above sea level, time of year, time of day (these latter two impacting the direction and strength of sun) and so on.
  • Weather is a closed system wanting/needing to get back to equilibrium.
  • This desire for equilibrium requires an ever changing environment, for example moving the air from high to low pressure.
  • When the pressure difference between 2 locations is very big there's the potential for 'bigger' more violent weather.
  • No control is needed - just an acceptance of how the world works - and an allowing of the inevitable outcome so that equilibrium can be found. For example no control nor effort is needed to move from day to night - simply the rotation of the planet over 24 hours. Or when sun and rain combine we get a rainbow - no effort is needed just a simple reaction of sun shining though water droplets. Or the tide moves from high to low tide - no control to do otherwise, no effort to force a change, simply allowing the presence of the moon and turning of the planet to bring about such drastic change in height of water.
  • When I was looking for pictures of weather we noticed that the only control we have over it is to wear the appropriate clothing so that we're dry when it's wet, protected when it's sunny, and safe when it's windy.
  • Or prepare the landscape for the onslaught to come
  • Another aspect of control with respect to the weather is measuring the weather - perhaps not as simplistically as the weather vane but measurements that enable forecasters to provide 24, 48, 72 hour forecasts and beyond. Not control as such but advance warning so that we may be prepared for what happens, rather than be surprised.
  • Another aspect to weather is monitoring trends as shown here from the Forth Road Bridge when we experienced over 90 mph winds. The information provided enable them to know when to close the bridge to all vehicles, and when to open it again.

The coachee and I spent some time exploring other aspects of weather - differing by longitude and latitude, warm, hot, dry, humid, wet, violent, calm and so on.

Exploring aspects of trying to control the weather.

Realising that in fact we can't control the weather, only forecast and adequately prepare for it, and then manage the outcome once it's passed.

If we'd had better weather during the coaching session rather than the amber warning wind and snow, that the above graph was part of, we might have been inclined to also go for a walk to see what he noticed.

As my client reflected on how to apply these insights to real life they suggested it might be inviting them to understand it was impossible to try to control all aspects of their life (it was bit like wanting to control the weather to ensure it was the same every day of the year - year in, year out.).

All they could do was put processes in place to provide them with data so that they could adapt to the changing world around them. And ensure they had a range of clothing that would keep them safe, warm and dry no matter what happened!!

A significant shift for a client who historically described themselves as being a 'control freak' - wishing to manage every eventuality, minimise spontaneity, and rejected the unknown. (Which links to one of the paths in the paths and destinations poem).

As you've reflected in my client's metaphor have you noticed any synergies with your life. Have any insights come to mind, and if so what's the action you need to take to make most use of the insight? When will you take the action?

Do get in touch if you'd like to understand more about how the Landscaping Your Life toolkit could be used to identify and then remove the blocks to you achieving your goals.


© Alison Smith
VAT Registration: 224 5001 58
Registered in Scotland, Registration Number: SC457105
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